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Speech team cruises to 43rd national championship

Photo by Tony Xu

The speech team has won its second national championship within a two-week period. The team won the National Forensics Association title last weekend in California.

The title is the program’s 43rd since 1980, the most by any team in the nation. Bradley edged out Western Kentucky, University of Texas Austin, Ball State and Northwestern in the top five.

The team also won the American Forensics Association championship two weeks ago. It is the first time the team has won both national championships in one year since 2013.

Junior creative writing and journalism double major Brenna Fuhr said winning the first championship provided a relief going into the NFA tournament.

“It was amazing how the mindset changed from winning one of them to approaching the other one,” Fuhr said. “Winning was just the icing on the cake. We weren’t worried about winning. We were just there to have fun and share our messages.”

Individually, two Bradley team members won national titles. Junior public relations major Trijae Johnson took first in program oral interpretation and duo interpretation with sophomore political science Joshua Beckles.

Fuhr finished fourth in persuasive speaking and eighth in individual sweepstakes. She performed in seven events, which is challenging to her.

“[My events] had so many sources like New York Times and Washington Post and sometimes they were in all them,” Fuhr said. “It’s a lot, but I have so much fun with it. I only do topics that I want to do and only share messages I want to advocate for.”

There was a celebration for the team on Friday outside the Global Communications Center. The communication department chair, Tony Adams, Peoria mayor Jim Ardis, University president Gary Roberts, Provost Walter Zakahi and team president Megan Magee all spoke at the event.

University president Gary Roberts and provost Walter Zakahi offered remarks at the celebration. Peoria mayor Jim Ardis presented a proclamation to the team. Photo by Tony Xu.

Roberts said there are two things that make Bradley stand out over any other school in the country.

“What makes us different?” Roberts said. “I can only think of a couple things. One that I always try and tell people is we are the only university in America founded by a woman.”

Other than Lydia Moss Bradley, it is the success speech team that is unique to Bradley.

“What makes us distinctive today?” Roberts said. “There is one thing and that is the speech team.”

There will be a bench dedicated to the Bradley Forensic Alumni Network and speech team in the Circle of Pride.

Ardis said the city is looking to put up a billboard to honor the team’s titles.

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